EPT12 Malta: Farrell fastest out the blocks in the Main Event
The opening flight of the EPT12 Malta Main Event follows a similar pattern to the others: eight 75 minute levels, 20 minute breaks after levels two and four, and a 75 minute dinner break at the end of level six. Late registration is open until play starts on Day 2. But right now, after four levels of play, 174 players have entered so far, and 154 still have chips.
At the halfway point of Day 1A let's see who's stacking chips high and who's gone for a cry (or hopped into a side event).
One of the jibes aimed at poker is that in this day and age it lacks characters, with live events overrun by the online generation who put up the duel conversation killers of hoodie and headphones. One player who can't be tarred with that brush is Scotland's Niall 'Firaldo' Farrell. Chatty, smiley and not afraid to poke fun at himself, Farrell has relocated to Canada and just knocked out a 'Canuck' in the biggest pot he's played so far.
His victim was Jonathan Roy, who turned a set of fives on a  board only to run into Farrell's A♥4♥. That boosted Farrell to 54,000 and since then he's steadily built to 70,000.
He's not the only notable player to have enjoyed a decent start to the day, below are the counts of some of the names in the field.
Selected chip counts
|Ivan Luca||Argentina||PokerStars qualifier||50,000|
|Andrew Chen||Canada||PokerStars qualifier||40,000|
|David Yan||New Zealand||PokerStars qualifier||40,000|
|Justin Bonomo||USA||PokerStars qualifier||40,000|
|Marvin Rettenmaier||Germany||PokerStars player||40,000|
|Daniel Dvoress||Canada||PokerStars qualifier||38,000|
|David Benefield||USA||PokerStars player||37,000|
|Mohsin Charania||USA||PokerStars qualifier||36,000|
|Shaun Deeb||USA||PokerStars qualifier||35,000|
|Steve O'Dwyer||Ireland||PokerStars player||35,000|
|John Juanda||Indonesia||PokerStars player||33,000|
|Connor Drinan||USA||PokerStars qualifier||29,000|
|Isaac Haxton||USA||Team PokerStars Pro Online||27,000|
|Jennifer Shahade||USA||PokeStars Mind Sports Ambassador||27,000|
|Vladimir Troyanovskiy||Russia||PokerStars player||26,500|
|Martin Finger||Germany||PokerStars qualifier||26,000|
|Jeffrey Rossiter||Australia||PokerStars qualifier||25,000|
|Oleksii Khoroshenin||Ukraine||PokerStars player||24,000|
|Ben Heath||UK||PokerStars qualifier||22,500|
|Jake Cody||UK||Team PokerStars Pro||19,000|
|Ihar Soika||Belarus||PokerStars qualifier||17,000|
|Jason Mercier||USA||Team PokerStars Pro||14,500|
|Maria Ho||USA||PokerStars qualifier||9,375|
Poker is a zero sum game which means whilst plenty of notables remain in, others have already headed for the exit door. Mateusz Moolhuizen was the victim of a set over set battle with pocket nines against Rob Schiffbauer's pocket kings. It all went in on a K♠Q♠9♠ flop and the Dutchman became one of the early casualties on Day 1A.
He's in good company as Scott Montgomery, Stephen Chidwick, Craig Varnell, Anatoly Filatov and Mikita Badziakouski are also out.
Key coverage links
Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the €25,000 High Roller is on the €25,000 High Roller page and everything from the IPT Main Event is on the IPT Main Event page.
Begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS